Skip to main content

Typically, 3 or more risk factors are present.

Q. I think I might have metabolic syndrome. What should I look for?

"Metabolic syndrome, also referred to as Syndrome X, is an increasingly common condition," says Steffanie Campbell, M.D., F.A.C.P., a board-certified Internal Medicine physician at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. "It's not a disease, per se, but rather a cluster of risk factors that together can increase your chance for heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Typically, you have to have at least three of the risk factors for your physician to diagnose the condition."

Dr. Campbell says the telltale risk factors for metabolic syndrome include:

  • Too much weight around the mid-section or an "apple shape" body.
  • High blood pressure or being on medicine for high blood pressure.
  • High blood sugar or being on medicine for high blood sugar.
  • High triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood) or being on medicine for high triglycerides.
  • Low good cholesterol (HDL) or being on medicine for low HDL.

Metabolic syndrome is a preventable condition for most.

"Smoking, a family history of metabolic syndrome, lack of exercise, obesity and insulin resistance can increase your chances for metabolic syndrome," Dr. Campbell adds. "The risk is also higher among Hispanics and Asians and older adults."

To help prevent metabolic syndrome, Dr. Campbell says to learn your "numbers" (total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides) and work with your doctor to monitor and improve them.

​"It's possible your doctor will put you on medication, but the good news is that you have control over the fate of your health. Eating right, exercising and losing extra weight and not smoking can have a positive impact on metabolic syndrome," says Dr. Campbell.

Alternate Text
Steffanie Campbell, MD, FACP

​As a general internist, my philosophy is holistic care. I consider my patients family members; I attempt to educate them as much as possible to assure informed decisions are made and we engage in shared-decision making.